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Each week, LD OnLine gathers interesting news headlines about learning disabilities and ADHD issues. Please note that LD OnLine does not necessarily endorse these views or any others on these outside websites.

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How Thinking in 3D Can Improve Math and Science Skills

KQED: Mind Shift

Spatial thinking skills, the researchers point out, are an important predictor of academic achievement and professional success in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and these skills begin developing—or not—in children’s own homes. A large study called Project Talent, for example, “found that people who had high scores on spatial tests in high school were much more likely to major in STEM disciplines and go into STEM careers.”

Parliamentary Outreach Resource Helps People with LD 'Get Government System'

Learning Disability Today

The Houses of Parliament (UK) Outreach Service has developed a package of learning resources to help adults with learning disabilities understand how Parliament works. Launched by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, the specialist resource pack forms the basis of a learning session in which participants are encouraged to think and talk about who runs the country and the laws they would like to make.

Addictive Gaming More Common with Autism and ADHD

NBC News

In a recent study, researchers surveyed the parents of 141 boys between the ages of 8 and 18 years old. Of those, 56 had an autism spectrum disorder, 44 had ADHD and 41 were developing normally. They found that kids with an autism spectrum disorder played - on average - 2.1 hours of video games per day. Children with ADHD spent about 1.7 hours per day playing video games and normally developing kids played about 1.2 hours per day.

Why We Need To Value Students’ Spatial Creativity

KQED: Mind Shift

Can enhancing spatial thinking improve outcomes in STEM? A new study by David Uttal, David Miller, and Nora Newcombe published in Current Directions in Psychological Science notes that “a recent quantitative synthesis of 206 spatial training studies found an average training improvement of 0.47 standard deviations.” The authors suggest that including spatial thinking in STEM curricula would “enhance the number of Americans with the requisite cognitive skills to enter STEM careers.”

1.7 Million Pound Boost for Disabled Teens in Lincolnshire, UK

This is Lincolnshire

1.7 million pounds has been earmarked to help students with learning difficulties and disabilities in Lincolnshire, UK. The money will help set up facilities for disabled students or those with learning difficulties, to help them continue studying after mainstream school.

Illinois Students With Disabilities Now Able To Opt Out Of Gym Class, According To New Bill

The Huffington Post

Student-athletes with disabilities in Illinois will now be able to opt out of gym class, just like their non-disabled student-athlete peers. Illinois governor Pat Quinn (D) signed a bill Sunday that allows students with disabilities to be excused from physical education classes, so long as they have proof that they participate in organized sports outside of school. This gym class exemption privilege previously existed for student-athletes but did not include students with disabilities, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Lawyers Urged to Adapt When Advising Clients with LD

Legal Futures

Lawyers needs to improve their interpersonal skills, be patient, respectful and remove jargon to provide disabled clients with a better legal service, research has claimed. More needs to be done to advertise legal services to people with learning disabilities, with easily accessible offices, clearer signage and straightforward language – according to the three-month study conducted by the Norah Fry Research Centre at the University of Bristol, UK.

How to Transform Direct Instruction

Edutopia

Summer is the time to look over those unit plans. As you reflect and rethink lessons, here's something to consider: How can you turn direct instruction into experiences where students instead discover?

From Toy to Tool: How to Develop Smart Tablet Habits in Class

KQED: Mind Shift

Managing tablets as learning tools in the classroom is not easy, especially when many kids use them largely as toys outside of school, if they have access to a tablet in their home environment. Kids often come to school and instinctively want to engage with a tablet as a toy, expecting to be free to play the games they want to play and explore the apps they are interested in.

Texas’ Bid to Ease Mandatory Exams for Public School Students

The New York Times

Despite sharply reducing state testing requirements for Texas high school students, the 83rd Legislature brought only conditional relief from high-stakes exams for students in lower grades, who take a total of 17 state tests before going to high school. For parents and educators who want less time spent on state exams in elementary and middle school, hopes are pinned on the new legislation, but with a big caveat: it is likely that Texas must first obtain a No Child Left Behind Act waiver from the federal Department of Education.

Rosetta Stone Steps Squarely Into Literacy, and Ed-Tech

Education Week

Rosetta Stone, widely known as a major provider of language-learning products, recently announced its latest foray into ed-tech by acquiring a company that provides online English reading and literacy instructional tools. Rosetta Stone paid $22.5 million for Lexia Learning Systems Inc., of Concord, Mass., which says its reading-proficiency products are being used by one million students.

H.R. 5 Act Passes

Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates

Friday, July 19, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives rolled back time with the passage of H.R. 5, The Student Success Act—legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) currently known as No Child Left Behind. The bill, introduced in early June by Chairman John Kline (R-MN) passed on the floor of House, and eliminates many of the accountability requirements of the current No Child Left Behind Act.

UF to Develop Program Supporting Students with LD Majoring in Sciences, Math

University of Florida News

The University of Florida has received an $846,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a model program to help students with learning disabilities achieve academic success in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, collectively referred to as STEM.

The Effects of Mandatory Retention and Its Use Across the Globe

informED

Recent policies enacted by states and school districts across the United States have reawakened the debate on mandatory grade retention. Since 2012, 14 states and the District of Columbia have adopted mandatory retention policies aimed at students who can’t read proficiently by the third grade. This article discusses the pros and cons of mandatory retention.

White House Honors Young Disability Champions

Disability Scoop

As the nation marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the White House is honoring eight “next generation leaders” in the disability community. During a ceremony Thursday to commemorate the twenty-third anniversary of the ADA, Obama administration officials lauded the young leaders — some of whom are still college students — as “Champions of Change.”

Education Overhaul Faces a Test of Partisanship

The New York Times

The House of Representatives recently passed a bill aimed at greatly narrowing the federal role in public education that was expanded under No Child Left Behind. No Democrat voted for the bill, called the Student Success Act, and the Obama administration has threatened to veto it. Even beyond the Beltway, the debate about education has become far more polarized in the past decade. Strange partnerships have emerged on both sides, as anxiety has grown over the lackluster performance of American students compared with children in other countries.

Can Playing Video Games Give Girls an Edge in Math?

KQED: Mind Shift

Authors of a recent study argue that exposure to video games “could play a significant role as part of a larger strategy designed to interest women in science and engineering careers.” Participants with little prior video-game exposure “realized large gains after only ten hours of training,” they note, adding that “we can only imagine the benefits that might be realized after weeks, months, or even years of action-video-gaming experience.”

Disney Encourages Readers to Create Their Own Stories

The New York Times

Taking advantage of interactive technology, Disney has introduced several initiatives meant to engage digital readers while taking advantage of the company’s extensive library. “It goes from the traditional reading experience through to a more interactive, immersive storytelling experience,” said Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Study Finds Spatial Skill Is Early Sign of Creativity

The New York Times

A gift for spatial reasoning — the kind that may inspire an imaginative child to dismantle a clock or the family refrigerator — may be a greater predictor of future creativity or innovation than math or verbal skills, particularly in math, science and related fields, according to a study published Monday in the journal Psychological Science.

Brain Test to Diagnose A.D.H.D. Is Approved

The New York Times

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday that it had approved the first brain wave test to help diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. The test takes 15 to 20 minutes, and measures two kinds of brain waves — theta and beta. Certain combinations of those waves tend to be more prevalent in children with A.D.H.D., the Food and Drug Administration said in a news release.

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